The Cooper Street Relic

Just another blog from The Republic Of Hespeler

Part 2 of 2 about Woodland Park:

The great thing about having a story-teller like my Uncle Alex in the family is that you never short of ideas when you want to write, and even though Alex is gone now, growing up in the same house with him exposed me to some tremendous story’s, and while most of them have fabricated parts to them, the basis for the story’s is almost always real.  His tales of war, the Hespeler that he grew up in and his family are real but with some added touches of his own imagination that enthralled me, my siblings and my cousins. And this is one of those story’s.  Most of it is true, but with no one left alive from his group, it is hard to verify, so you have to exercise your imagination a little with it.

The Woodland Park Social Club

In the late to mid 1930’s Woodland Park was a thriving bit of Woodland in Hespeler that was home to many species of animal and fauna, as well as home to the Woodland Park Social Club, a small group of Hespeler Teenagers that met regularly  through Sun or Snow. This group included my Uncle Alex and many of his circle of friends and included both men and women, there was no discrimination in the Club.  While they were all good Catholics,Baptists or even Presbyterians, religion was left at the edge of the woods for their meetings and they followed a different set of spiritual guidance based more on the ancient Celtic order of Druids.  No, they didn’t stuff kids into trees or practice black magic, they went  to enjoy friendship, drink a few beer’s that they could rustle up and just enjoy the nature around them. They would have a small fire, roast marshmallows and for a day forget about the tensions in the  around them, for this was a time when Germany and Japan were making threatening noises in Europe and Asia and the depression was in full swing in North America, it was a chance to forget about what the future held and more about retaining the last grasps of their late teenage years. They would sing campfire songs and talk about each other lives,  perhaps try to perform an ancient ceremony or two and some of them even had robes made for the Club, it was a simple time in the midst of a changing world for them.   But like everything else this group of Men and Women,or should I say young women and men, were hitting their adult years and the club slowly broke up as the adult world hit them hard, many had to find work to help support their family’s while some of the girls got married and most of the boys wound up going to war, with a few not returning, and the Woodland Park Social Club ceased to exist by the early 1940’s.

My Uncle told me this story one summer day in the 1970’s when he was feeling very  melancholy and so he took me to the park to show me where they met, he stood there,muttered some words I didn’t understand, opened a beer and poured it on the ground. I asked him why he did that,and he just answered, because I know the Club is here with me.   My Uncle Alexander died in November of 2000, and ever since then I have gone to Woodland park to walk and imagine what it would have been like on those long summer nights in 1938, perhaps it is time to start the Woodland Park Social Club up again.

My Uncle Alex in his Later Years with one of his Sisters Ethyl, somehow I can imagine her as a member of the club.



5 thoughts on “The Woodland Park Social Club

  1. Jim Kloepfer says:

    I grew up on Strathcona St. !! I thing my Mom knew every bird in the park by name !!!

  2. James Hillis says:

    It was a beautiful park at one time.

  3. Anonymous says:

    if only we were smart enough to separate fantasy from fact..there were time we must have sounded so stupid..loved the stories that we grew up on but,,really in hind sight they were a tad fantafull.

  4. James Hillis says:

    The key to a good story teller is the ability to weave fact with imagination and Uncle Alex was as good as anyone with that ability and I can only hope to have a fraction of that ability.

  5. Anonymous says:

    S0unds like a better time

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